Music as a System
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  • New Study Shows “Burn” Is The Most Metal Word and Lyrically Complex Bands Swear More

    Earlier this year, data scientist and ex-physicist Iain published a study on his personal blog, Degenerate State, entitled Heavy Metal and Natural language Processing – Part 1. In this study, Iain uses a corpus of lyrics from 222,623 “metal” songs to perform a linguistic analysis. The results are surprising and lead to some interesting questions about genre and cultural influence. Plus, Iain crowns “burn” the most metal word around. Is your curiosity burning (see what I did there)? Then grab your dictionaries and join me on a wild ride as we uncover some of the most fascinating results of Iain’s study.

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    July 6, 2016 • Music as a System, Nerd Shit • Views: 1194

  • On Playlists, Compilations, and Mixtapes: A Catered Experience from Enbilulugugal

    On January 1st, 2014, Izedis, front man and lead conspirator of both Enbilulugugal and Dipsomaniac Records, published a 24-hour compilation/playlist meant to consume your new year and plunge you into a blackened, noisy hell within which there is no hope for resolution. Now, I’m no stranger to playlists, employing quite a few myself and aiding in the development for several here at the blog, but as I was plumbing the infernal depths of this day-long deluge of darkness (Izedis recently republished it on Facebook), I found myself contemplating the odd, seemingly counter-cultural (to metal, at least) idea of a curated playlist. To metalheads who consider themselves seasoned music connoisseurs, is there any value to allowing someone else to choose your jams for you? Therein lies my quandary.

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    June 2, 2016 • Music as a System, Nerd Shit, Washington Think Tank • Views: 753

  • Music as a System: The Unfinished Album

    Here at the Toilet ov Hell, we like to discuss the creative value of heavy metal (and music in general) as a form of art. Our typical means of encountering this art is through one of two media: (1) a written, recorded, produced, and packaged performance of the artist’s work that stands as a unique snapshot of that artist’s progression and abilities at that period of time; or (2) a live performance that may vary from previously recorded songs and may show a more dynamic approach to artistic evolution. While recorded music is static, live concerts are more fluid and may give a better representation of how the artist views his art while also enabling interaction with the crowd. However, albums represent a type of all-or-nothing statement whereas live performances may lose some of the integrity of personal creativity in favor of entertainment value. What if there was a third way, though, a different path whereby artists may continue to dynamically change a particular performance without the immediate (and possibly biased) feedback of the crowd? Today we explore that middle ground by way of an unlikely source.

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    April 5, 2016 • Metal, Music as a System, Washington Think Tank • Views: 1061

  • Thrashnkill’s Continuum of Cognitive Metallic Identification: a Primer

    Grab a pencil and a notepad, Professor Joe’s about to take u 2 skool. Metal skool.

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    December 1, 2015 • Music as a System, Nerd Shit • Views: 1525

  • Angry ≠ Extreme: A Discussion of Emotion in Noise

    I am disappoint. Continue Reading

    June 11, 2015 • Music as a System, Not Metal, Opinion • Views: 1798

  • Op Ed: Is Metal Dead?

    It’s been a while since we’ve had either a Think Tank post or a Music as a System post. Really, that was due to me lacking time/motivation to seek out interesting discussion topics. However, over the past few days I’ve found myself in a philosophical conversation with one of my friends (and a sometimes reader of ToH) regarding the life cycle of art. As some of you may have seen, this friend recently asserted that we are living in a post-metal (and really post-art) state. This comment, and the blogs and theories behind it, would seem to imply that metal is dead. But is it really? That’s the question that I want you to ponder as I lay out my arguments. In the grand tradition of Washington Think tank, I’m going to return to this question at the end and pose an even further one for you to answer. If metal isn’t dead, what’s next?

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    April 28, 2015 • Music as a System, Washington Think Tank • Views: 2055

  • Transhumanism and Musical Evolution (A Music as a System Companion)

    This article is intended as a companion piece to W.’s most recent Music as a System article, and should be read as a supplementary exploration of concepts introduced therein. 

    On the first installment of this Music as a System companion piece, I gave a (relatively) brief introduction to a subgenre of music talked about by one of our great leaders, W. in his initial article. However, the amen break was only a small part of his overall discussion, and his insights and ideas provoked within my own mind a plethora of speculations specifically regarding technology and the future of extreme music.

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    January 8, 2015 • Music as a System, Not Metal, Opinion • Views: 1659

  • Drum and Bass (A Music as a System Companion)

    This article is intended as a companion piece to W.’s most recent Music as a System article, and should be read as a supplementary exploration of concepts introduced therein.

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    December 4, 2014 • Music as a System, Not Metal • Views: 1302

  • Music as a System: The Evolution of Metal Drumming

    Greetings and welcome back to Music as a System. In the last two editions of this feature, we’ve discussed how to apply lessons from systems external to the music business to improve or analyze issues within the world of metal. In this edition, I’m going to take a slightly different tack and explore the origins of certain elements within metal music and frame these in a similar vein to how science progresses.

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    November 20, 2014 • Music as a System, Opinion • Views: 1844

  • Music as a System: Leading a Band

    Last time on Music as a System, former president Dubyah examined band rapport and its importance in establishing and maintaining a musical career, or even just a positive presence within a music community. He compared the necessity for good rapport between bands and fans with his own experience as an educator relating to students in a fascinating discourse that can be viewed here.

    To continue with the established theme, I offer here a comparison of my own experiences as a band leader with my weekend job: working with teenagers.

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    November 7, 2014 • Music as a System, Opinion • Views: 1369